Shed hunting is an important element of the deer hunting process that keeps going even after the season’s over. Long after you’ve tagged your last set of antlers, you can still hunt deer by tracking down their sheds. Shed hunting provides major clues about deer patterns and will give you a big advantage in the season ahead. So, switch from hunting mode to detective mode and discover clues that will help you later on.
Don’t be afraid to look for sheds on public land. It’s easy to think that public land means a lot of people will be doing the same thing and looking for sheds in the same area, but don’t let it discourage you. They may not be as picked over as you might imagine. If you’re going to hunt a particular area of public land in the fall, it doesn’t hurt to take a look around now. Taking time out of your busy schedule to shed hunt will put you a leg above the rest. As is true with any sport, the real work is done during practice, not the game. The dedicated hunter that does his research will be the one coming out of the woods successful.
Check for sheds next to food sources. Deer are usually very hungry during the winter and tend to eat with a gusto. Sometimes, this leads to them eating so hastily that they knock off their antlers in the process. Finding sheds near a food source will not only indicate that deer frequent that area, but that they really enjoy the food they find there. It’s probably safe to assume that they’ll be returning in the fall.
Even though it’s exciting to find a shed, don’t stop with just one. When you find one antler shed, enjoy the moment, but make sure to keep looking for the other. There are important clues in sets of antlers, so you need to analyze both to get the full picture. Seeing both will give you an even better idea of how big the deer was and whether they had abnormal antlers. Knowing what the current herd is like will let you know what you’ll be dealing with in the fall.
Train your Dogs
Hunting dogs are incredibly common hunting partners that help you track down game. You can train dogs to follow scents and point or indicate when they’ve found something in the woods. Many people picture hunting dogs working during the hunting season, but their efforts can extend beyond the season just as yours can. You can train retrievers and other dogs to hunt deer sheds as well as the animals themselves. Most dogs have a heightened sense of smell and can pick up on trails easily. This trait is just as useful for tracking down inanimate antlers as it is for tracking live deer.
Shed hunting is a great way to keep your eye on the prize during the off season. Even though fall seems like it’s a long way away, it will be here before you know it and you want to be prepared. We hope these tips will help you in your shed hunting pursuits. What are your shed hunting tips? Do you have a winning strategy that you’d like to share? Let us know!